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Risk remains in identifying people with latent form of virus

January 28, 2020 4:44 pm
The Head of Health Protection Dr Aalisha Sahukhan

The Health Ministry says despite its best efforts to curb the danger of coronavirus entering the country, there are loopholes.

The Ministry has implemented a multi-layered prevention strategy to protect us from Coronavirus, however, the risk remains with inbound travellers that develop symptoms of the virus at a later stage.

With screening process in place at the Nadi International Airport and thermal screening in other countries, the Head of Health Protection Dr Aalisha Sahukhan says even these will not be able to identify people with the latent form of the virus.

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Sahukhan explains the limitation that they’re facing in terms of screening inbound travellers at our main port of entry.

“Border control is just one of a multi-layered strategy because we understand the limitations of border control. When we have a disease like this where it has a long incubation period up to 14 days. They can be quite well past through screening not just in Fiji but in other countries that have implemented screening. This includes the thermal screening that is in some certain countries as well. They can pass through this and they’re well and enter a country.”

Dr Sahukhan says they continue to learn more about the virus as it develops and they’re strategizing their prevention measures accordingly.

“There are also some reports that some people do not develop symptoms for this disease. That is the reason we don’t rely completely on border screening.”

106 people have died from the virus so far and over 4500 cases have been confirmed in mainland China.

Fiji’s Health Ministry is closely liaising with a relevant international agency to ensure we’re on par with international best practices.

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